The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles

JHU Press
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Who was Richard Kemp, after whom the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is named? Is Wake’s Gecko named after Berkeley’s Marvalee Wake? Or perhaps her husband, David? Why do so many snakes and lizards have Werner in their name? This reference book answers these and thousands of other questions about the origins of the vernacular and scientific names of reptiles across the globe.

From Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti, the Florida cottonmouth subspecies named for Roger Conant, to Xantusia, the night lizard genera namesake of John Xantus, this dictionary covers everyone after whom an extant or recently extinct reptile has been named. The entries include a brief bio-sketch, a list of the reptiles that bear the individual’s name, the names of reptiles erroneously thought to be associated with the person, and a summary of major—and sometimes obscure or even incidental—contributions made by the person to herpetology and zoology. An introductory chapter explains how to use the book and describes the process of naming taxa. Easy to use and filled with addictive—and highly useful—information about the people whose names will be carried into the future on the backs of the world’s reptiles, The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles is a handy and fun book for professional and amateur herpetologists alike.

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About the author

Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson are the coauthors of The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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Additional Information

Publisher
JHU Press
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Published on
Sep 15, 2011
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9781421402277
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Language
English
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Genres
Reference / Dictionaries
Reference / General
Science / History
Science / Life Sciences / Biology
Science / Paleontology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Over 300 million years ago, an early land vertebrate developed an egg that contained the embryo in an amnion, allowing it to be deposited on land. This moment marked the first step in the fascinating and complex evolutionary journey of the reptiles. In The Rise of Reptiles, paleontologist Hans-Dieter Sues explores the diversity of reptilian lineages, discussing the relationships among turtles, crocodylians, lizards and snakes, and many extinct groups.

Reflecting the tremendous advances in the study of reptilian diversity and phylogeny over recent decades, this book is the first detailed, contemporary synthesis of the evolutionary history of these remarkable animals. Reptiles have always confused taxonomists, who have endlessly debated and rewritten their classifications. In this book, Sues adopts an explicitly phylogenetic framework to sift through the evidence and discuss the origin and diversification of Reptilia in a way no one has before. He also examines the genealogical link between dinosaurs and birds and sheds new light on the Age of Reptiles, a period that saw the rise and fall of most dinosaurs.

With this single meticulously researched volume, Sues paints a complete portrait of reptilian evolution. Numerous photographs of key specimens from around the world introduce readers to the reptilian fossil record, and color images of present-day reptiles illustrate their diversity. The extensive bibliography provides an invaluable guide for readers who are interested in exploring individual topics more deeply. Accurate, synthetic, and sweeping, The Rise of Reptiles is the definitive work on the subject.

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is a leading center of herpetological research in the United States. This monograph offers a brief account of the principal figures associated with the collection and of the most important events in the history of herpetology in the MVZ during its first 93 years, and lists all type specimens of recent amphibians and nonavian reptiles in the collection.

Although the MVZ has existed since 1908, until 1945 there was no formal curator for the collection of amphibians and nonavian reptiles. Since that time Robert C. Stebbins, David B. Wake, Harry W. Greene, Javier A. Rodríguez-Robles (in an interim capacity), and Craig Moritz have served in that position.

The herpetological collection of the MVZ was begun on March 13, 1909, with a collection of approximately 430 specimens from southern California and as of December 31, 2001, contained 232,254 specimens. Taxonomically, the collection is strongest in salamanders, accounting for 99,176 specimens, followed by "lizards" (squamate reptiles other than snakes and amphisbaenians, 63,439), frogs (40,563), snakes (24,937), turtles (2,643), caecilians (979), amphisbaenians (451), crocodilians (63), and tuataras (3). Whereas the collection's emphasis historically has been on the western United States and on California in particular, representatives of taxa from many other parts of the world are present.

The 1,765 type specimens in the MVZ comprise 120 holotypes, three neotypes, three syntypes, and 1,639 paratopotypes and paratypes; 83 of the holotypes were originally described as full species. Of the 196 amphibian and nonavian reptilian taxa represented by type material, most were collected in México (63) and California (USA, 54).

The Appendix of the monograph presents a list of curators, graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, research assistants, curatorial associates, curatorial assistants, and visiting faculty who have conducted research on the biology of amphibians and reptiles while in residence in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as of December 31, 2001.
The Baja California peninsula is home to many forms of life found nowhere else on earth. This, combined with the peninsula's rugged and inaccessible terrain, has made the area one of the last true biological frontiers of North America. L. Lee Grismer is not only the foremost authority on the amphibians and reptiles of Baja California, but also an outstanding photographer. He has produced the most comprehensive work on the herpetofauna of the peninsula and its islands ever published. With its stunning color images, detailed accounts of many little-known species, and descriptions of the region's diverse environment, this is the definitive guide to the amphibians and reptiles of a fascinating and remote region.

The culmination of Grismer's quarter century of fieldwork on the Baja peninsula and his exploration of more than one hundred of its islands in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés, this book gives information on the identification, distribution, natural history, and taxonomy of each species of amphibian and reptile found there. Preliminary accounts of the life history of many of the salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, and snakes are reported here for the first time, and several species that were almost unknown to science are illustrated in full color. The book also contains new data on species distribution and on the effect of the isolated landscape of the peninsula and its islands on the evolutionary process.

Much of the information gathered here is presented in biogeographical overviews that consider the extremely varied environments of Baja California in both a contemporary and a historical framework. An original and important contribution to science, this book will generate further research for years to come as it becomes a benchmark reference for both professionals and amateurs.
"THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR BIOGRAPHY," hails Scientific American: A thrilling new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists.

"A masterpiece of science writing." —Washington Post

A New York Times Bestseller • Goodreads Choice Awards Winner • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Smithsonian, Science Friday, The Times (London), Popular Mechanics, Science News, and more.

"This is scientific storytelling at its most visceral, striding with the beasts through their Triassic dawn, Jurassic dominance, and abrupt demise in the Cretaceous." —Nature

The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.

In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.

Includes 75 images, world maps of the prehistoric earth, and a dinosaur family tree.

New species of animal and plant are being discovered all the time. When this happens, the new species has to be given a scientific, Latin name in addition to any common, vernacular name. In either case the species may be named after a person, often the discoverer but sometimes an individual they wished to honour or perhaps were staying with at the time the discovery was made. Species names related to a person are ‘eponyms’. Many scientific names are allusive, esoteric and even humorous, so an eponym dictionary is a valuable resource for anyone, amateur or professional, who wants to decipher the meaning and glimpse the history of a species name.

Sometimes a name refers not to a person but to a fictional character or mythological figure. The Forest Stubfoot Toad Atelopus farci is named after the FARC, a Colombian guerrilla army who found refuge in the toad’s habitat and thereby, it is claimed, protected it. Hoipollo's Bubble-nest Frog Pseudophilautus hoipolloi was named after the Greek for ‘the many’, but someone assumed the reference was to a Dr Hoipollo. Meanwhile, the man who has everything will never refuse an eponym: Sting's Treefrog Dendropsophus stingi is named after the rock musician, in honour of his ‘commitment and efforts to save the rainforest’.

Following the success of their Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles, the authors have joined forces to give amphibians a similar treatment. They have tracked down 1,609 honoured individuals and composed for each a brief, pithy biography. In some cases these are a reminder of the courage of scientists whose dedicated research in remote locations exposed them to disease and even violent death. The eponym ensures that their memory will survive, aided by reference works such as this highly readable dictionary. Altogether 2,668 amphibians are listed. 

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